Saturday, October 31, 2015

En el Museo Canario

It's the weekend of Halloween and All Saints' Day and all that thinking about the dead makes you want to see one of the biggest collection of skulls in the world. Right? Well, you won't be disappointed when you visit El Museo Canario.

Ya que es el fin de semana de Halloween y Día de Todos los Santos y con tanto pensar en los muertos te entra el deseo de ver una de las colecciones más grande de calaveras en el mundo. ¿Verdad? Bueno, no te decepcionarás cuando visites El Museo Canario.

Besides rows and rows of skulls from 500 B.C. to the 15th century, there are mummies and all kinds of artefacts of the Guanches, the aborigines from across the Canary Islands.

Además de filas y filas de calaveras de entre 500 A.C al siglo XV, hay momias y todo tipo de artefactos de los guaches, los aborígenes de las siete Islas Canarias.
El Museo Canario.

While Valentín took a call Enrique and I slowly examined the specimens all around us. It was eerily fascinating to think about each life represented by all those empty eye sockets that stared back at me. Some had been killed in a violent way, some had had craneal surgery, maybe to alleviate migraines or release demons. There was one infant cradling a fetus between its arms. That was where I stood the longest trying to figure out what might have happened to those little ones and to their mother. Time stood still as I studied each face, some smiling it seemed, others serious. Surprising how much you can notice about a face even when nothing but bone is left.

Mientras Valentín atendió una llamada Enrique y yo examinamos los especímenes a nuestro alrededor. Fue extrañamente fascinante contemplar la vida que representaba todas esas cuencas de ojos vacíos que me miraban fijamente. Algunos habían muerto de forma violenta, algunos habían tenido cirugía craneal, tal vez para aliviar las migrañas o liberar demonios. Había un niño sosteniendo un feto entre sus brazos. Ahí fue donde me detuve más tiempo tratando de averiguar lo que podría haber sucedido a estos peques y a su madre. El tiempo se paró totalmente mientras estudiaba cada cara, algunos parecían sonreír, otros tenían caras serias. Es sorprendente cuánto puedes notar de una cara, incluso cuando no queda nada más que el hueso.

Valentín,  historian, archaeologist and founder and director of Arqueocanaria S.L. and I have been friends since we were nineteen. He makes me laugh and marvel at his stories just as much now as when we were young. A friendship forever treasured.

Valentín, historiador, arqueólogo y fundador y director de Arqueocanaria, S.L. y yo hemos sido amigos desde que teníamos diecinueve años. Me hace reír y me fascinan sus historias ahora igual que cuando éramos jóvenes. Una amistad que se valora para siempre.

Halloween American Style

Ms. Frizzle (The Magic School Bus) and Bill Nye (the Science Guy)
Solemos hablar para bien o para mal de la imagen que hacemos de los demás más fácilmente que la realidad de los demás. Estuve muy sorprendida cuando vine a España y descubrí que se celebraba Halloween tan lejos de los EEUU. Y no podía entender la forma de Halloween que aquí se había desarrollado. Pero, ayer en el instituto leí una hoja describiendo Halloween para los estudiantes. Decía...” En los EEUU se celebra Halloween vistiéndose de monstruos, vampiros, fantasmas, hombre-lobos, zombis...: Me quede con los ojos a cuadros.

Este es totalmente el caso de los tópicos que no describen la realidad. Son caricaturas, no fotografías. Esta mañana cuando abrí mi ordenador vi cuatro o cinco disfraces sangrientos de zombis, dráculas, monstruos de todo tipo y eran todas en los muros de amigos españoles.  En los muros de amigos americanos eran otras que he copiado para que las vean.

Mientras puede figuran cualquier tipo de disfraz y todos tenemos nuestras preferencias Halloween American en si no es tétrico, es otoñal, mientras el Halloween Español es totalmente tétrico, no americano, lo que está bien pero no como se creen.
Aquí les presento un albúm de los disfraces americanos que compartieron mis amigos y en las redes este año - vaya que buenos!

Me encanta este artículo-
"Entré en mi clase de quinto y en seguida me vi reprendida por los niños. “Profe, ¡no pareces de miedo! ¡Una vaquera no me asusta!”. Bueno, disculpaaaaadme niños, pero la última vez que lo comprobé, Halloween era una fiesta LIBRE. Es decir, si me quiero disfrazar del ratoncito Pérez, puedo. Al menos en América..."
El Papa

Dr. Seuss' Cat One & Cat Two 
El Peluche ty - Stuffed ty dog
Una familia de abejas
El primo de Sombra, Henry, vestido de dinosaurio.
Anne de Malificent
Mariposa Monarch Butterfly
Raggedy Ann

Monday, October 26, 2015

Yoga Animal

Good Morning, Astorga!
Bringing to you our amazing friend, Irene, from Toledo.

We met Irene when she came to live with us for a California summer. It was an unforgettable time. She's a super hero, heroine better said, who knows no physical limits. She walked everywhere, even to places that the hearty gym crowd would have taken a car (albeit getting very lost one day going to a shopping center and we having to look for her hours after she set off power walking Sacramento's busy and residential streets.)

She is so energetic, positive and engaging. Her motto: ¡Disfruta Tu Cuerpo! Enjoy Your Body!  If you ever plan to stay sometime in Toledo, be sure to visit her gym to say hello and maybe even sign up for a workout or class! 

Irene Rodríguez Quintana
Personal Trainer. Diplm. Ed. Física.
Instructora Yoga, Pilates, Flexibilidad Artística.
Prof. Gimnasia Hipopresiva.
647 68 64 05 ·

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Maybe Now. We'll See.

Will I ever write about my life? Why should I?  And if it causes more pain? What about the possibility it will incriminate? And if it's honest soul-sharing, isn't that alright? I don't know anymore.
Could I possibly find the language and ability to share and not blame, to examine and simply analyze?  Am I really emotionally ready to give form to and craft words for the impossible whirl and confused torment that have been my reality, my decisions, my grief?
After all, I've lived lots of loss; twice heartbroken with young love, disregarded and discarded by my husband of 23 years, separated from my children and family to whom I devoted three decades of my life, and a sudden move to another continent and culture. 

Where would I begin? How do you talk when your mouth has stayed shut through the worst of it? What do you say when you're not used to talking about the unsightly, the ugly, the insanity?  You are someone who hasn't ever voiced your own heart and mind, and now for your own peace and well-being you must. Or so it seems. Have you ever heard a deaf-mute regain her hearing and try to speak for the first time? Such abnormal periods of previous silence deform words and halt language. But, I don't love the alternative.

So, emotional paralysis aside, I've spent the last four years in Spain learning the meaning of discretion; learning to leave all things personal at the door before going out into the street. What's shared and lived in one time and place stays there. Those are the rules and I admit, even in my natural outgoingness, I've adapted and changed. Now I appreciate modest conversation more than ever. I'm more drawn into the subtleties of speech, of social norms and undercurrents that I often missed before in direct American conversation (albeit sometimes refreshing.) While people are people are people all over the world, Europe is truly different from the USA. Moreover, Northern Spain holds a special reservedness. What initially seemed cold and distant upon arrival, and what I misunderstood many times at first has since grown on me. It's guarded hesitancy that inherently causes me to reflect quietly first. Hopefully it is balancing me. Again, I don't know.

So, back to my question. Will I ever be able to open up, share past and present photographs with honest commentaries that shine light onto my life, my true feelings? Sometimes I shake my head at my reflection. There is a smile, but so much more to be said.
Restlessness, these growing pains growing into a desperate need to write again, a lot and unabashedly. Perhaps, first remembering there is no right or wrong when it comes to feelings, as one counselor needed to tell me repeatedly. Is that true? What about taking every thought captive? What about proverbial warnings about the tongue? Still, perhaps being bold enough to say what one feels in the moment knowing she or he can change it tomorrow if need be is to live the process. Just. Feel. Heal. Live.
So, yes, maybe now it's time to write.  Maybe now those thoughts might move from the inner labyrinth of my mind into the open, and from there, maybe even past the front door and into the street. Maybe now.

We'll see.
No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening--it's painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.  
Hebrews 12:11
The discipline meaning the concentrating, processing and writing, not the experience of grief. That is something else entirely.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


Ojos negros, piel canela que me llegan a desesperar. Me importas tú y tú y tú y solamente tú, y tú y tú. Me importas tu y tú y tú y nadie más que tú. 

The Sea, Me and the Interview

"Remember this, girl,
you are half sea.
No one ever asks
the ocean to quiet her storm,
so why do you keep
apologizing for yours?" 

I thought about this quote a lot last week when I saw it because I had received an unexpected email, an invitation to interview to work in one of the most beautiful coastal cities* in already beautiful California.

It was requesting that I consider teaching Spanish at a high school whose "vision 
where all
 knowledge, and finally where all
 awareness. My heart leaped for joy. My kind of learning environment! My kind of school!

And at the ocean, Monterey, no less! Just the thrill that ran through me like an electric current told me that this must be it! The opportunity to establish ties again with my homeland, to have my own classroom again and be valued professionally. 

Monterey, so well-known for its marine conservation, it’s nature acquarium, whales! the language institute that has educated kings and ambassadors and where I dreamed of attending most of my college day (when you’re young and you really think you can interpret for the UN!), and the sheer dazzle of coastline and its flora and fauna.*

No vemos nuestro reflejo en el agua en movimiento, sino en el agua quieta.
- Los maestros Zen

No te largues a la mitad, no te quedes sólo a la mitad de tus posibilidades. Aquí eres una invitada de Dios. ¿De verdad vas a largarte así como así? - Richard el Texano, Comer en Italia, Rezar en India, Amar en Indonesia.

¿Qué tal si te dedicas a meditar aquí mismo, ahora mismo, en el sitio donde estás en este momento? Comer en Italia, Rezar en India, Amar en Indonesia.

Y me planteé si podría servirme de algo (a mí y a los que me sufren porque ma quieren) aprender a estarme quieta y aguantar un poco sin lanzarme a la farragosa carretera de la circunstancia.

If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Ecclesiastes 4:10